Dog Walking and Behaviour Issue – Follow My Lead
This blog is difficult to write on so many levels. Where does one start?
On the human level, what happened in the household of MTV Reality Show star Jenelle Evans and her husband David Eason is horrendous needless to say. The violence that Jenelle and her children witnessed this past April, 2019, the day their little french bulldog named Nuggett was killed by her husband, is absolutely terrifying and traumatic to say the least.
To live under this kind of fear must be nightmarish. The day to day juggling of emotions, feelings, struggling to find balance so as to not tip the scales to the edge of the abyss of what seems to be a person so filled with rage, a ticking time bomb, must be gut wrenching. These words simply aren’t enough to express the horror one can only imagine living under. Yet people do unfortunately.
The longer this story has continued to unfold the more we have learned about the humans relationship with each other. We have also heard much more of what this man did to this little animal. I must admit to having been in tears on numerous occasions as I have relived the last moments of this little dog’s life. I have had to struggle to keep the image from breaking me. Again, this is in no way to diminish what Jenelle and her children have been living with. NO ONE SHOULD EVER HAVE TO LIVE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS! But as this website is about dogs I am writing to express what happened from the dog’s point of view and what I see every day.
When I ask people how much they know about the language of dogs there is always a confused look. Yes, dogs do have a language all their own! Some people say they know a lot. Others are totally at a loss for words. While intellectually we know about British primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall who studied chimpanzees and American primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey who studied gorillas, part of their work was decoding the mystery of how these animals communicate respectively with each other. Yet here we are in 2019 and we still pay lip service to dogs and the language that they use to “speak.” A wagging tail means the dog is happy is something that I often hear. Not always!!!
Such is the case with Nuggett, Jenelle Evans’s dog. As someone who is constantly watching the conversation that dogs are having with each other and with us humans I instantly picked up on the “calming signals” , the warning signs, that Nuggett gave in order to let the little girl know, whom Nuggett perceived as a threat, how he was feeling. (As I don’t know the gender of Nuggett I will refer to him/her as “he.”) He gave the typical ” I am uncomfortable, would you please move away”. He gave one signal (warning sign) after another after another and then finally the “drive by bite” as I call them. The snap or bite leaves a a grazing mark versus an actual bite with his teeth, puncture wounds. Nuggett gave a number of clues that his nervousness, his fear was rising.
Nugget could have done severe physical damage to this little girl, but he didn’t thank God! He gave escalating warning signs but the humans (meaning the adults whose responsibility it was to control this situation!) refused to accept the conversation that was happening right in front of them. Either that or they fall into the category of thinking they know a lot but in reality know very little or know nothing at all about the language of dogs. In my opinion the humans in this case used human psychology on a dog.
David Eason’s defense of ” A dog is a dog and I don’t put up with that s%%t. I am all about protecting my family, it’s my life mission” is lost. He continued to film the little girl who wanted to kiss the dog and in so doing put her in harms way. It was his little girl who was to pay a huge price in this scenario (physical as well as emotional). The dog WAS talking to him but he was blind to the conversation. David Eason wasn’t listening. The signals were not taken seriously enough. Not all dogs, like people, want someone in their face.
But let’s go back to the beginning of this blog. The humans were living under intense, stressful, volatile conditions. Guess what, so was the dog, a member of this family. Dogs pick up on this. It is how they survive. They are so in tune with energy and body language. After all it is how they “speak”. It is the silent language, the silent film. They too have a preference as to whether they are comfortable with someone coming into THEIR personal space uninvited, be it another dog or human.
The unfortunate thing is that they think we humans, all of us, know their language. Dogs speak in the language that they know. Ultimately, the dog always pays the price, no matter what, when we humans don’t take the time to learn their linguistics. “It’s just a dog” is a comment that is echoed around the world. It is disposable to many peoples way of thinking.
What happened to this little dog happens all too often. Little Nuggett lost, even though he tried to “CALM” the situation with his signals. He was killed for doing the right thing with his language. Lost in translation.
Dogs too live their learned experience. It’s all about survival.
To learn more about the language of dogs please do get in touch! We offer a basic introduction to “dog speak.” In your home, office lunch and learn, private consultations. If you have a dog, are a dog walker, your neighbour has a dog, you have a rescue dog, you have a new puppy, your family member has a dog, there is a dog that is always loose and running around your neighbourhood, knowing the “calming signals” will help you to understand the conversation right before your eyes. What is your own energy and body language saying? This is for everyone regardless if you have a dog or not.
Quote by Jane Goodall – “What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Quote: by Thomas Merton a Trappist Monk – “And the silence that enfolded me, spoke to me, and spoke louder and more eloquently than any voice.”
Quote: by Bruce Lipton – “Energy is more powerful than words.”
Quote: by Rumi – “The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.”
This is the difference I want to make. We are all speaking to each other and that includes the animals too. Truly, quietly paying attention is the key!